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Film Review: The Forlorned (2017)

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SYNOPSIS:

A newly positioned lighthouse caretaker is haunted by a dark force and mysterious presence. Unlikely assistance is given to bring justice to the dark forces that lie within the lighthouse grounds.

 REVIEW:

The Forlorned is a new horror film from writer/director Andrew Wiest, who is also known for Pizza, Pesos, and Pistoleros (2004), Dead Noon (2007), and The Adventures of Chris Fable (2010).  The Forlorned is based on the novel by Angela Townsend, who co-wrote the screenplay.

The film tells the story of Tom Doherty (Colton Christensen), who responds to an advertisement and is hired to renovate a historic lighthouse and the buildings that surround it. Despite the isolation from society, it seems like the perfect job. Tom is told he can stay in an old house that is associated with the lighthouse. Ladies from the local town prepared a room for him in the house and even left him a few goodies to make him feel at home while he is working there. What Tom doesn’t know is that none of the locals wanted the job he applied for and most of them won’t even go near the old lighthouse.

The Forlorned has a constant overcast, moody atmosphere to it that works in it’s favor. The movie is low budget, but the cinematography is done well and through the use of lighting, a supernatural tone is maintained throughout the film. Almost immediately upon his arrival Tom begins hearing disembodied voices and strange sounds both inside the house where he is staying and when he is outside working.

he bedroom that he is supposed to be staying in is oddly filled with creepy old dolls and their eyes seem to follow him.  The sight of the dolls coupled with the unusual sounds Tom hears when he’s in the house make it impossible for him to sleep in the bedroom, so he falls asleep in an old armchair in the living room of the house.  Unfortunately, the chair just so happens to be where the previous caretaker of the lighthouse passed away, meaning Tom probably won’t get much rest sleeping there either.  Soon, Tom is not just hearing noises, he’s catching glimpses of what seem to be apparitions.

I have not read the novel this film is based on, but I think the movie does a good job of providing the tragic backstory of the lighthouse.  There are flashbacks of a sea captain who was guilty of the ultimate betrayal of his crew and his actions seem to have unleashed an evil upon the land. Souls that have been trapped there are waiting for Tom when he arrives in present times to begin his job as the new caretaker of the lighthouse.

Most of the film takes place in the house where Tom is staying or nearby, but I thought that even with the limited locations, the story and characters were developed well.  Colton Christensen was believable as Tom Doherty and did a good job portraying a man who not only has to face the unknown; he has to face his own demons as well.   This movie is a bit of a slow burn, so there were a few times that I thought the pace of the film slowed down a little too much, but it did pick back up again and kept my interest.

The special effects used for the ghostly voices and visions Tom sees are simple, but effective.  The feeling of isolation and desperation that surrounds Tom permeates the film, so the filmmakers made good use of the budget they were working with.  The story was easy to follow and the small cast of characters was pretty solid. Colton Christensen as Tom, has very little interaction with other people in the film and does an impressive job of making sure the movie doesn’t get boring and manages to carry the story by himself.

The Forlorned (2017)  –  2.5 out of 5 Skulls

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